Sandown, England // The Group 1 Eclipse Stakes on Saturday is the final throw of the dice for William Buick before he goes into a 30-day freeze out courtesy of the French stewards.
The Godolphin rider suffered the ban on Wednesday after a France Galop appeal board upheld his punishment for being blamed for causing fellow rider Pierre-Charles Boudot to be unseated in the Prix De Diane at Chantilly last month and then arguing with stewards following the incident.
However, one man’s fate is another man’s gain, and the principal jockey of Godolphin Australia, James MacDonald, is still in England following his Royal Ascot exploits and will step in to the breach for the duration of this month.
For now, Buick must plot the downfall in Saturday’s feature race of proven Group One performers aboard Godolphin’s Hawkbill, who flew the royal blue standard with credit when he landed the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot a few weeks ago.
Hawkbill clashes with The Gurkha, who was second in the St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day of the royal meeting, and My Dream Boat, who hit the target in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes the following day.
Taking the scalps of Group 3 opposition is one thing, but both Buick and Charlie Appleby in particular, believe that the son of American sire Kitten’s Joy is worthy of a shot at the highest level after he was supplemented to the race on Monday for £30,000 (Dh146,200).
“He had a quiet week after Ascot and has since been doing routine work,” the trainer said.
“We felt he was good enough to run in the French Derby. He could have gone there and then headed straight to the Eclipse but we have just gone a different route.
“Most importantly he is giving us the right signs and seems to be improving with each run.”
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